Eric Stoller asks “When did “light-hearted” become marketing speak for “racist caricature”?”
I want to know when did respecting other people for their differences and working and living well together become such a big deal that we have to watch every word and motion for fear that it will offend someone?
I ran across this site and didn’t read a whole bunch, but what I did read told me that he’s another guy that wants everyone to be generic copies of each other and tiptoe around the things that make us different from one another. After reading the blog and updating this post below I think that statement was completely (well, almost) out of line. I may stop back by tomorrow and read some more, as it is late and I am pissed off about work, so I could just be taking it completely wrong.
It’s the differences that make things so damn interesting. Yeah, sometimes things can be taken too far. I will agree there. I don’t know where the line needs to be drawn, but you can’t be afraid of every single thing that you say just because someone might get offended. The voice mail that he posted about is pretty damn funny, BUT for a business to have it is probably not kosher. I know I would not want it on my business voice mail, but the flip side of that is that the PC police need to chill just a little bit.
They are more than welcome to change it to a stupid old redneck accent. I promise it won’t offend me. I might even have to call, but then I am not so thin-skinned that I have to worry about people making fun of me…
…except for that third nipple. I don’t like it when you make fun of that. It hurts my feelings. Both of them.
Updated – The above was originally posted 2/22/07 at 11:13 PM
I am reading through Eric’s blog, as I was pretty tired last night and tend to jump to conclusions and make off the cuff remarks without thinking about them, so I figured I would review the site after checking it out for real. If I am going to post about someone, I at least want to see what they are about rather than just coming across as a baiter (or hater)
For starters, Eric is a self-proclaimed social justice blogger. What exactly is a social justice blogger? Heck if I know, I will get into that more later on.
The blog flows along pretty easily, I enjoyed reading it while not necessarily agreeing with everything I read. That’s OK, it doesn’t stop me from reading well written prose.
There are a few posts that I was clueless as to what they were about. It’s clear that I would understand if I were a regular reader over there, or read more liberal writings. There are a couple of posts on Glaceau, which is the company that had the voice mail that I was talking about in the earlier entry. In those entries (at his site)you get the idea about some of his visitors from the comments. Some of them are well written, thoughtful comments, while others are plainly just ass kissers that don’t have anything at all to really add to the discussion, but just want the link, or want to see “their name in print”.
He does have what look to be some pretty tasty recipes, although the couple I saw are all vegetables. That’s OK, I probably need to eat more vegetables anyway.
There was one thoughtful post that I liked. Angela Davis spoke at a social justice conference at Oregon State University, and he was putting down some of what she talked about. He has about an hour of the recording on his site as well if you are interested in what she said. Here is a portion of HIS post describing part of HER speech:
Davis mentioned that she took umbrage with the term “diversity.” She said that “Diversity is difference that doesn’t make a difference.” Her comments were extremely relevant for institutions of higher education. Enrolling students of color, women, students with disabilities, lgbt students, and students with high financial need does not mean that racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia/heterosexism, and classism will simply disappear. However, “diversity” is thrown around as if it’s a magic anti-oppression elixir. Without social justice oriented, anti-oppression oriented, anti-racist oriented educational efforts, diversity cannot affect change amongst members of the dominant paradigm.
I agree wholeheartedly with the line “‘diversity’ is thrown around as if it’s a magic oppression elixir”. The Federal government, the local and state politicians, and most major companies use the word now as if it will ward off racism simply by appointing a Director of Diversity. Claiming to have a diverse work force or student body doesn’t make it so.
I just find it completely annoying sometimes. I was recently accused of being a racist because I don’t agree with the things that the ACLU does, and shortly before that because I had to fire someone that was not doing his job, raised his fist to one of my waitresses as if he was going to hit her, and was extremely rude to my customers. He happened to be black. He was a piece of crap as far as employees go. How does that make me a racist. He literally filed a formal complaint with my company, which they duly investigated. Regardless of my personal convictions either way, I have done what I do for twenty years, and know what’s good for my employees and my business, and I always follow that.
About a year and a half ago, I posted an entry entitled “What if Natalie Holloway were Black and Poor?” It was one sentence. ONCE SENTENCE. I was making the point that she received attention from the media because she was white and pretty. Yes, there are other things that kept fanning the flames, her family was very good at keeping this in the public eye. I would want to do the same thing if it were my kid. The point. Yes. In several of the comments there they clearly pointed out that I was obviously black, and didn’t know what the hell I was talking about. It actually became quite funny after awhile. I received more traffic from my posts on the case than at any time in the prior six years that my site had been online.
I have gotten off the subject. I may write a bit more later about diversity and inclusion later today, but this post was about Eric Stoller’s Blog. Overall, I actually liked it. It’s not a place I will visit every day, but occasionally. Growing up it never occurred to me to treat people differently. I wasn’t raised that way. Over the last 25 years of working though, my views have been changing. Like everyone else, I have my prejudices (and if they say they don’t they are full of shit) but the trick is to make sure that they don’t effect how you treat other people.
I guess maybe I agree with him more than I admit. I still don’t know that we need the social justice police, but as long as someone else besides me gets to be the sheriff, that’s OK too. So here’s the real truth. I am like everyone else with my little prejudices and dislikes but the difference is that I am not afraid to post them and be called an asshole. Eric is also not afraid to be called an asshole, and is very convicted in his beliefs about social injustice (not just racial) so I can respect that.